Complement your Communication coursework with hands-on experience
The Department of Communication urges its students to complete at least one internship during their undergraduate careers. 64 percent of our recent graduating seniors report participating in an internship experience. Internships allow you to try out a new field, gain valuable skills, network with professionals in your field, and apply what you are learning in the classroom to real life settings. Communication majors have interned in such diverse fields as media programming, public interest research, TV news, advertising, public relations, education, corporate management, sales, government, newspapers, magazines, non-profits, and film production.
Please note that internships do not count for Communication credit, but the department highly encourages students to pursue them for elective credit.
The academic piece
You’ll work this out with your Faculty Sponsor (see below). Typically, an internship requires that you keep a journal “on the job,” which you’ll use to write a paper that summarizes your experiences, evaluates them, and relates them to one or more courses that you have already taken or will take immediately after the internship.
You can do an internship (UMass 298Y: Practicum) in any session: fall, spring, winter (January), or summer. During summer or winter sessions, you pay for the credits through Continuing & Professional Education.
To be eligible for an internship, you must have completed at least 45 credits and have a minimum GPA of 2.0.
You can earn as few as 1 to as many as 18, depending on the hours you put into the internship each week. One credit for every 40 hours of work is typical. These credits are graded as pass/fail and are treated as elective—they do not fulfill any department requirements (there are no exceptions to this rule). No more than 18 credits can be applied toward graduation, regardless of how many internships you complete.
In order to receive academic credit for an internship, you must work with a Faculty Sponsor and the Field Experience Office, the unit within Career Services (511 Goodell) that oversees internships and co-ops. For help identifying a person who might serve as your Faculty Sponsor, please read the "Find a Faculty Sponsor" section, below.
Scholarships for internships
The Department offers the Elaine E. Nord Internship Fund for Creative Communications, a funding opportunity for Comm students planning to do summer internships. In addition, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers several scholarships that support students doing internships. Please check the Department's Scholarships page for more information about these funding opportunities and their deadlines.
How to apply for an internship: 4 steps
Read about the UMass Amherst credited internship process
The Career Services Office maintains several introductory pages on its website, including The Credited Internship Process, Finding Internship and Co-op Opportunities, and Applying for Internships and Co-ops. Please read these pages carefully, as they should answer many general questions you might have about internships.
Attend a "Welcome to Field Experience" meeting at Career Services
You'll learn many things at one of these essential meetings, including how to search for internship opportunities and register for your internship credits via the UMass Amherst CareerConnect portal/database. To discover the days, times, and locations of these frequent meetings, call the Field Experience Office at 413-545-2224, send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org, or check the Career Services Calendar.
Find a Faculty Sponsor
Securing a Faculty Sponsor is your responsibility. We recommend that you approach faculty whom you know from your classes or activities. Ask at the Department of Communication's main office (N308 ILC, 413-545-1311) for their contact information and office hours, or find this information yourself by clicking here. You and your Faculty Sponsor will decide on the nature, requirements, and due date of the internship-related academic project that you'll be preparing for him/her.
Register for the Internship Online
Once you have been offered an internship placement and have defined the academic project with your Faculty Sponsor, you'll need to complete the registration process by logging on to UMass Amherst CareerConnect and filling out an Academic Contract and any other forms as required.
If you're planning to do an internship during the summer or winter break, you'll need to get in touch with Continuing & Professional Education about paying for your internship credits. (Continuing & Professional Education is the unit that oversees all credited programs and activities at UMass Amherst during the summer and January.) CPE's street address and contact information are listed below:
Continuing & Professional Education
100 Venture Way, Suite 201
Hadley, MA 01035-9430